What Can a Quick Google Search Find for Your Genealogy?

What Can a Quick Google Search Find for Your Genealogy?

Our webinar with Lisa Louise Cooke on Googling Your Genealogy, coming up Tuesday, Jan. 27, gave me the idea to see what genealogy results I could find with a quick web search. I searched for Thoss genealogy kentucky (because I don't think I'm connected to the Seherr-Thoss family of Connecticut...

Our webinar with Lisa Louise Cooke on Googling Your Genealogy, coming up Tuesday, Jan. 27, gave me the idea to see what genealogy results I could find with a quick web search.

I searched for Thoss genealogy kentucky (because I don’t think I’m connected to the Seherr-Thoss family of Connecticut and New York, or Thosses elsewhere).

Right away I could see that Google also returned matches for Thomas, so I made an adjustment:

That’s better. The quotation marks tell Google to find exactly Thoss. Results from the first several pages that appear to be relevant (and aren’t from things I posted online) include:

  • the book Early Nineteenth-Century German Settlers in Ohio (Mainly Cincinnati and Environs), Kentucky and Other States, on Google Books, listing my third-great-grandfather and his place of birth in Germany—a great find!
  • two old Geocities genealogy sites for related families
  • matches in the Kenton County, Ky., library’s Northern Kentucky Genealogy Database, which indexes church, cemetery, census and other records, as well as newspaper articles, and in some cases links to digitized versions.
  • profiles from Ancient Faces, based on the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)
  • a PeopleSearch page listing Thosses from the SSDI with dates of birth and death, and a map plotting those folks’ residences reported in the SSDI.
  • a relative’s transcribed obituary, with children’s names, on GenLookups.com
  • a local cemetery transcription project with burial information that could be for a relative

That would be enough to get me started building a family tree and finding relatives’ old records. Try it with your surnames!

Further searching using Lisa’s tips in the Googling Your Genealogy webinar would get additional matches and bring even more relevant resources to the top.

The webinar also will cover how you can make genealogical discoveries with Google’s other tools, including Alerts, Books, Patent, and Translate. Learn more about the webinar and register here.

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  1. Google search has been my saving grace more than once when I haven’t been able to find information in any records search. Once all I had was the father’s (very common) name and that his daughter was born in Canada and her parents were Irish from her census records. I spent hours hinting the Canadian census for her parents, assuming they immigrated to Canada from Ireland. But no. I searched Google for the father and daughter’s names. Lo and behold, there is a biography of him in a county history book which gives his genealogy according to his children all the way down to his daughter and her husband (which verified it). Turns out he immigrated to Ohio as a child and just hopped up to Canada as an adult long enough to get married and have a couple kids before coming home. All thanks to a Google search!